Now that the dust has settled following Super Bowl 50, I’d like to point out an example of guerrilla marketing executed during halftime. No, I’m not talking about Puppy Bowl 2016; rather, I’m referring to the coordinated social media effort by ESPN to capture X’s and O’s football fans by utilizing content marketing featuring former NFL Head Coach and Analyst Herm Edwards:
— ESPN Monday Night (@ESPNMondayNight) February 8, 2016
In the January 2016 Turnkey Sports Poll, respondents were asked to identify which Super Bowl broadcast element they’re most focused on when “their” team(s) aren’t playing in the actual game. The responses that rolled in were definitive:
The game itself – 59%
The commercials – 30%
The halftime show – 10%
Not sure / No response – 1%
As much as The Super Bowl is a cultural touchstone, it’s still a sporting event. Sure, the pomp and circumstance of halftime and “banned commercials provide endless watercooler fodder, but for hardcore fans, the game takes precedence.
Seizing upon this, ESPN set up Coach Edwards in a stark room with a whiteboard during the game’s extended halftime and broadcast his analysis on the social media app Periscope. This was a low budget, mobile-focused offering geared towards fans like the 59% of TSP respondents who were tuned in for the game (while others in their respective living rooms focused on Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Coldplay).
A content marketing coup d’état from The Worldwide Leader In Sports, this could be the start of a trend that ultimately leads to sponsored Periscope broadcasts from networks not broadcasting the actual game targeting viewers with mobile-specific content.